As we move into 2017, we wanted to share some of the wonderful activities, events and inspiring stories that made last year so special for us. We have so much to reflect on from 2016, and here are just some of the amazing highlights we’d like to share with you:
The BIG Stories
This year we celebrated many more inspirational stories from our Big Issue vendors. Early 2016 saw Big Issue vendor Carlos hold a photography art exhibition at Roast, a landmark British restaurant in London’s Iconic Borough Market. In April Birchington-On-Sea vendor Richard started his 8 month challenge of growing a beard for The Big Issue Foundation. May saw the heart-warming inspiring story of June drive’s for self-improvement. In the summer, we celebrated Marc handing in his Big Issue tabard to work full-time on his Vinyl record business. In the autumn, Oxford vendor Sean told us why he was doing this year’s Big Sleep Out again and why female vendor Rose Fu took on The Big Knitathon. This winter, we celebrated the two Paul’s, Paul Logan and Paul Jones. Paul Logan shared his story about his Corporate Vendor Placement Programme, at Simmons & Simmons, the big law firm at Moorgate and his new pitch inside Liverpool Street station. And Paul Jones shared his heart-warming story of going back to Leicester to spend Christmas with his estranged family, having recently mended fences and healed old wounds.
The BIG Events
This year saw our most successful Sleep Out yet when 80 supporters slept out at St John’s Church, Waterloo, raising over £23,000 to support Big Issue vendors. We had another brilliant Night Walk event, featuring James and Bob, raising over £58,000. Our biggest individual fundraiser this year was Melissa Scott, who raised almost £4,000 climbing Kilimanjaro for TBIF.
The BIG News
In January 2016 The Lead London Home Campaign launched which called for pledges from all mayoral candidates to lead the way on tackling homelessness. This was being backed by over 20 homeless charities in the capital including The Big Issue Foundation.
In February 2016 after almost 15 years at our Vauxhall Head Office in London, The Big Issue Foundation including, head office staff from The Big Issue Group, and sister company Big Issue Invest waved goodbye to Vauxhall and relocated our North London Head Office in Finsbury Park.
In April, over 1 million tenants signed up to the Rental Exchange which tackles the financial and social exclusion faced by social housing tenants. The Rental Exchange is an innovative partnership between our sister company Big Issue Invest and Experian that is transforming the lives of social housing tenants throughout the UK. The scheme sets out to tackle social, digital and financial exclusion faced by those who cannot access affordable credit due to a lack of a mainstream credit history.
Our Summer Appeal raised in excess of £14,000 to support Big Issue vendors across the UK making it a summer to remember for over 1,600 Big Issue vendors across the UK.
The 28th of October saw progress being made towards some much needed landmark legislation aimed at reducing homelessness. Bob Blackman's Homelessness Reduction Bill passed its crucial second reading in the House of Commons, without a single vote against it.
November the 4th saw the premiere of the incredible tale of James Bowen and Street Cat Bob hit the big screen!
Throughout the year we’ve held successful vendor days with corporate companies across the capital. This was encapsulated through the RBS and The Wellcome Trust stories as well as the initiation of the Wellcome Placement following a vendor day experience.
In addition, the replication of the Network Rail pitches that have offer our vendors a safe and secure environment in which to work as well as an opportunity to increase their sales, build a robust customer base and feel part of a wider team.
Within the last year we have established safe and secure pitches for our vendors at Waterloo, Victoria, Liverpool Street, Kings Cross, Euston and Birmingham New Street stations. We would like to grow this model to encompass all Network Rail stations within London as well as nationally; offering our vendors a safe environment in which to work and develop networks that ordinarily would be challenging for them to obtain.